10,000’th view

It’s 1530hours. Tuesday. I write this from a table on the shaded patio of Tamasha Hurlingham. I have just solely devoured a platter for two with the shamelessness of an obese 10-year-old. Now, I slide down in my seat, belly out. Nipping on a toothpick and stewing in the embarrassing afterglow of my gluttony.

It is hot. Tamasha is deserted. There is an incessant buzz from the houseflies hovering over me. Two cats are circling my feet underneath the table. The lethargic waiters are taking turns shooing them away from me. I am too full to notice, let alone move. I feel…stupid.

To my right, the main housing of the bar remains unoccupied save for the staff mazing the tables and highchairs and stools. To my left, the patio bar stretches from the wall behind me all the way to the wall adjoining the exit gate. Beyond it, a heated wind sweeps through the lifeless handkerchief of parking. The gatekeeper stands in the shade of the tree that roots smack in the centre of the parking. He leans against it then takes off his hat to wipe the sweat off his brow. It is hot alright.
Overhead, Supersport commentators blare from the television speakers. Premier league highlights.

On my now cleared table, a double in a dwarf tumbler chills. Its clear liquid buoys the ice cubes and lemon slices, creating a mild fete in the tumbler that’s begging for me to join in. With a pivot shift of my elbow, I bring it to my lips for a sip. I realise it’s too early in the day to have a drink. Heavens, it’s too early in the week to have a drink. But I have a deep sense of achievement today – unlike last week. And the week before last. I want to celebrate to maintain this tenor. Correction. I need to celebrate to maintain this tenor. Thus the incontinence.

Where’s the sense of achievement stemming from? Well, my blog hit the 10,000’th view.

And now, a cliché history: I started this blog in late April. I started it for many reasons, one of which was a desperate need to see my words on a platform other than MS Word. I needed also the discipline to write often. And to force my creativity to come forth as a newborn’s head through the birth canal of its labouring mother does.  It was also the footbridge between my old auditing job and my new writing job; this blog eased the transition between personas and titles, mindsets and cautionary sensibility. But now, 10,000 views later, what I considered a crutch, a pillow and a last resort has matured to become the touchstone of my writing.

I first run the blog on WordPress. I started with this very template. Then I gambolled from template to template intent to find a balance between colour scheme and practicality, font and aesthetic appeal. But after weeks of sampling all templates in the WordPress library, I returned to settle on this first template.

On some idle mornings, I sat with the blog at the breakfast table – a tall glass of warm milk for him, a mug of Kericho Gold tea for me – and we conversed about the beauty of the written word. My blog felt I romanticised words too much. Take it easy Miss. I thought he took them too callously. Let’s be serious about this. I blushed when he said the title ‘writer’ sounded great on me. Please, stop. Then I quickly warned him it’s not a title anymore. It’s a responsibility. It’s a heavy and unfamiliar identity. He frowned. Jeez, take it easy Miss.

I upgraded from the freebies of WordPress – I counted my pennies for an annual subscription, and switched hosts. That meant a change from the WordPress.com domain to a local co.ke domain.

Switching hosts also meant that I had access to the source code. Source code is the DNA of an application. Blogs are primarily coded in php – php is an easy code to edit, even for programmers like me who hadn’t touched code since 2008. So I rolled up my sleeves and confidently got down to pruning the template. Two hours of productive improvements blossomed to six hours of butchering the poor thing. Then it leaped to eight hours of counterproductivity. By the time I was done, I had butchered the code so much the comments section of the blog was up there near the sidebars. My admin was furious. There was no need for you to edit the CSS when I’d already promised to do it for you. Tsk . Do you remember what exactly it was you changed? Speak up. I can’t hear you. Stop yelling? What do you mean stop yelling? I am not yelling. Sigh. I need ten minutes alone with the blog. You’ve done enough.

End of May, I had a solid template. Six posts, no readers.

Then, I went live on June 7.

And on that Friday the 7’th, I wasn’t an ex-auditor between jobs anymore. I wasn’t a peculiar and penniless slob who had breakfast conversations with her blog. I wasn’t a wannabe writer. I was a writer. It looked real. Strike that, it was real. I had written something. I had finished it. I had posted it. And now, someone other than me was sweeping their eyes over my timid words.

Then I got my first comment. A comment that wasn’t ‘Hello world’ or ‘Test packet’ – it was a real comment. From a real person. Josefkim said to remember this blogging thing, “It can wrestle you sometimes to the ground and sit on your chest. I believe you have it in you to throw it down and write again…” I nodded at the wisdom. I clicked approve, and I heard fireworks going off in my head. Someone stop the world.

Any desire to run, while it was still early, was pushed aside. Any option to shut down the blog was no longer on the table. Any consideration to walk away, before I proved my sensibility right, was flung out the window. The only way to move now was forward.

And move forward we did.

This blog is essentially work in progress – the posts and their comments are still being written; the illustrations are simmering in the mind of an artist who has delayed in meeting his end of our gentleman’s agreement; the quality of my writing is in constant improvement; my sentences are subjected to the unforgiving scrutiny of my grammar Nazi. Where did you go, old friend?
And most importantly, you, dear reader, continue to keep me company here.

This is an excuse for a Tuesday tipple. True. But it is mostly a paean for hitting the 10,000’th view with all vital body parts still intact.

Cheers to that.

the Ol’ Man
I want to believe

Comments (25)

  1. Brian Wesaala

    Very inspiring…Brio here is officially a fan of fcbett.co.ke

  2. Jurgen

    Fc Bett, Good stuff… still waiting for the reading get together.. do something or we will choke on these words… do something!

  3. Joel

    Haha I want your life! I could use a double right about now you know. Congrats on the 10,000’th view!

  4. artfullyContrived

    When you write well you write extremely well. Some phrases in this weeks article are so beautiful one cant help but read them more than once.

    This is among the best.

    • fra

      Thanks artfully.

      What you’ve said reminds me of a nursery rhyme about a little girl.
      “When she was good,
      She was very good indeed.
      But when she was bad…”
      Henry Wardsworth Longfellow

  5. Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya)

    I’m a (former) programmer but never touched my PHP code.. !

    Anyway, congrats on your 10,000 hit! All the best..

    Must I note that you take note of details when you write..

  6. Sally

    Keep writing Fra. I make a point of checking you out at least twice a week.

    • fra

      Will do Sally.
      Let me know when you drop by. It gets lonely around here sometimes, you know?

  7. MIMI

    Do you accept guest posts fra?

    • fra

      Yes, I do Mimi.
      Details are under the ‘About the blog’ page.

  8. sokaylujo

    Oh, the 10,000 viewer? It’s a toast then. Now, where is that champagne (sp)…….:-) congratulations fra.

  9. Low

    Cheers!! Congrats. Quite a long way from ‘an audience of one’ :)

  10. jimmimuchemi

    I smile every time I read ur articles.

    • fra

      Thanks Jimmi. Keep reading.

    • fra

      I am well, thanks for asking.
      A necessary downtime, that’s all.

  11. Gitsz

    Can’t believe you blog! awesome article.

  12. yosefkim

    I just read this piece today and you quoted me on your blog? Wololo! I am over the moon. Congratulations on hitting 10K, I have been letting my blogging thing sit on my chest as it grows a beard..I know I am lazy.

    • fra

      The first will forever be the first yosefkim.
      Quit the laziness.

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